Public Philosophy Awards

Note: Submissions are due by September 15th, 2018.

We are pleased to announce that there will be two prizes available this year, one for an unpublished essay, and one for an essay published within a year of the deadline. The deadline for both is 15 September 2018. The award for each prize is $4,500. In addition, the top three unpublished essays will be passed to the Editorial Director and a Senior Editor at Aeon and will be considered carefully for publication. Any essay which is not accepted for publication will be given a written report from the senior editor about its strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions for alternative publication venues. No more than one essay per author will be considered across the two prizes.

To be eligible for the prize for a published essay, please submit a copy of your essay, together with publication details, to publicphilosophypublishedaward@gmail.com. An article counts as ‘published’ so long as it is published between the date of 16 September 2017 and the deadline for the award, 15 September 2018. An article featured on a personal website does not count as published. However, an article on a public website may count as published; decisions will be made on a case by case basis; feel free to include any qualifying information in the body of the submission email. Long-form submissions will be preferred, but articles of any length will be considered. There is no restriction to any area of philosophy. Unlike other Marc Sanders Prizes, this prize is not restricted to junior candidates.

Please submit your unpublished essays, anonymized for blind review, to publicphilosophyaward@gmail.com. For this prize, we will only consider long-form essays (minimum 2,500 words, maximum 7,000) with significant philosophical content or method by authors with significant philosophical training. The most important condition is that essays should be written to engage the general reader. There is no restriction to any area of philosophy. For this prize, there is no restriction to junior candidates. Philosophers at any career stage are encouraged to submit. Previously published essays will not be considered for this prize.

Committee:
The Award Committee is Chaired by Susan Wolf (UNC Chapel Hill). The committee will also include Ken Taylor (Stanford University and Philosophy Talk), and Barry Maguire (Stanford University).

Deadline:
Please submit your blinded entry to publicphilosophyaward@gmail.com
by 15 September 2018. Please include the essay title in the subject line. Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged by email. Refereeing will be blind; authors should omit all remarks and references that might disclose their identities.

Any inquiries should be sent to Barry Maguire at barrymaguire@gmail.com.

You can view the criteria through which the papers will be assessed here: https://www.barrymaguire.com/public-philosophy.html.

Open letter to sign

Whatever you may think of the merits of no-platforming, it seems pretty clear that writing a petition calling for an event to be canceled should not be a reason for a student to be threatened with expulsion. If you agree, do sign this letter because that’s just what is happening at Bristol University. (Thanks, M!)

Alcoff on Junot Diaz, Me Too, and Intersectionality

A really important article.

Clearly, we need to go beyond easy binaries. The letter I signed calls on all of us to think through the important issue of how to demand individual responsibility from abusers while also being vigilant about our collective and institutional responsibility, to develop critiques of the conventions of sexual behavior that produce systemic sexual abuse. While individuals can never be absolved of responsibility by blaming structural conditions, those conditions do create opportunities, excuses, even training in the ways of domination, and these have to be radically transformed.

Read the whole thing.

Willingness to rape

UPDATE: I did not realise this was from 2015. Sorry!

Amongst other questions they were asked how they would act in a situation where they could have sexual intercourse with a woman against her will “if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences”. 31.7% of all men participating in the study would force a woman to have sexual intercourse in such a “consequence-free situation” – which is rape.

Worryingly, most men who indicated that they would commit rape did not even recognise their actions as such.

When explicitly asked whether they would rape a woman if there were no consequences, only 13.6% of participants said they would do so, a marked fall on those who had described that they would commit rape.

From here.

SWIP UK/BUMP Conference

The Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth, and Early Motherhood

In association with SWIP, BUMP & PHILBIRTH
University of Southampton
Avenue Campus
Building 65, lecture theatres B and C, and seminar room 1163
Thursday 21st June – Friday 22nd June 2018

Conference aims

Although philosophers have explored some issues related to pregnancy, birth and early motherhood – most obviously abortion and the value and metaphysics of coming into existence – relatively little philosophical attention has been paid to pregnancy, birth and (early) motherhood themselves. These are remarkable omissions because pregnancy, birth and early motherhood raise many interesting and important philosophical problems in metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, feminism, the philosophy of science, and other areas.

Pregnancy is unlike anything else that a human being experiences. It involves the production of a new person through a deeply intimate process that can radically transform not only the pregnant person’s body, but also their understanding, values, and who and what they take themselves to be. Pregnancy is also the nucleus of a series of unique physiological processes surrounding reproduction: conception; pregnancy; birth; post-natal recovery and breastfeeding. These processes are of great significance for individuals and society. These are key aspects of human life that are under-investigated in philosophy and are often not dealt with adequately by existing ways of thinking, because they do not fit the paradigm of humans as discrete independent individuals with firm boundaries. In these unique physiological processes, the boundaries between human beings are blurred. This may require rethinking key conceptual schemes – or even how we understand human value. This conference will aim to address such issues.

Pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood inescapably involve issues of gender. Most people who undergo these physiological processes are women. Gender expectations contribute to how we understand the duties of pregnant women and mothers. However, not all persons who are pregnant, give birth, or lactate, identify as women or as mothers, and not all mothers experience pregnancy, birth, or lactation. The conference welcomes papers that address the concept of motherhood from a variety of perspectives, including the perspectives of those who have been pregnant but do not identify as mothers, perspectives of those who identify as mothers but have not been pregnant, and trans perspectives.

These issues are not just interesting and important in their own right, but are also relevant to public policy: pregnancy, birth and early motherhood are constant issues of public controversy and policy development. For this reason one of our keynote speakers will talk about policy during the conference. The conference will also host the SWIP annual general meeting and we will organise a practical advice panel on parenting and work-life balance in philosophy.

Invited speakers

Barbara Katz Rothman (City University of New York Graduate Center)
Elselijn Kingma (University of Southampton)
Sarah LaChance Adams (University of Wisconsin)
Maggie Little (Georgetown)
Clare Murphy (British Pregnancy Advisory Service)
Guy Rohrbaugh (Auburn University)
Stella Villarmea (University of Alcala)
Fiona Woollard (University of Southampton)

Accepted speakers

Robbie Arrell (Wuhan University)
Teresa Baron (University of Southampton)
Lior Betzer (University of Haifa)
Sara Cohen Shabot (University of Haifa)
Sara Gavrell (University of Puerto Rico)
Jean Kazez (Southern Methodist University)
Siu-Fan Lee (Hong Kong Baptist University)
Jane Lymer (University of Wollongong)
Liz McKinnell (Durham University)
Nicole Miglio (University of Milan)
Anna Smajdor (University of Oslo)

For more information, including registration, go here.

Any queries should be sent to the organiser, Suki Finn, at suki.finn@soton.ac.uk

SWIP Ireland 17-19 May

Society for Women in Philosophy, Ireland
In association with (in Parenthesis)
6th Annual Conference and General Meeting of SWIP-Ireland
17-19 May, 2018
University College Dublin, Ireland
Women in Philosophy: Past, Present and Future

​With 6 invited speakers
Sally Haslanger (MIT)

Nancy Cartwright (Durham University​)

Siobhan Chapman (University of Liverpool)

Eileen Brennan (Dublin City University)

Kristin Gjesdal (Temple University)

Sigridur Thorgeirsdottir (University of Iceland)

​3 Panels

​64 speakers​

This is one of the largest women in philosopher conferences. Come and join us if you can.

Click for: Conference Registration and ​programme (updated) ​

Great blogpost on civility

From the Sooty Empiric.

The idea is that given that Trump et al. obviously don’t care about civility norms, you’re fruitlessly tying your hands behind your back to insist on upholding them when in dialogue with the brutes. Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, don’t obey Queensbury rules when they’re hitting all and only below the belt, etc etc. One can see the intuition here fairly well; incivility is evidently a powerful weapon of rhetorical warfare (Trump is president!) and we shouldn’t surrender it to people who will use the power they attain by it to do very great harm to a very great many people. I think that once upon a time I would have agreed (so, vain as I am, I certainly don’t think this is an obviously wrong headed or foolish take or anything of the sort), but I’m now inclined to disagree. This post is about why I changed my mind.

Read on!

Academic freedom and ‘controversial speakers’

Great stuff!

Recall: academic freedom is the freedom for university members who participate in scholarly fora to freely inquire, research, teach, learn, collect, curate, speak, and disseminate. This is a special family of freedoms that goes beyond constitutional protections of free expression. It is the university members’ roles in the university’s central mission of pursuing truth and advancing knowledge that affords them this special class of freedoms. Further, the scholars themselves — in virtue of their roles and their qualifications — are the ones who define the particular mission of their university through the process of collegial governance.

Academic freedom is both broader than constitutionally protected freedom of expression, and more focused. It is broader in the sense that it covers not only expression, but also inquiry, methodology, learning, curation, etc. It is more focused in that it is not laissez-faire but purposeful — the purpose is the advancement of knowledge.

A university president who effectively communicates these core ideas of the source and distinctiveness of academic freedom and the attendant notions of collegial governance and institutional autonomy goes a very long way toward helping the public to understand choices about which kinds of outside events to permit on campus.

“We didn’t permit that rental because the associated event flew in the face of our mission of advancing knowledge,” such a president might say. If the public asked “how so?” the president could reply that not only was the planned event unscholarly but that, by fostering a toxic campus environment, it compromised the ability of the university’s scholars — especially its Indigenous and racialized scholars — to flourish, and to play their part in advancing the university’s scholarly mission. And so on.